DogTime Blogs

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weight Loss Plan

Obesity is a major health issue in the world. And unfortunately for our pets, they follow in our footsteps of overindulgence and poor activity. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, it is estimated that:
• 7.2 million dogs are obese
• 26 million dogs are overweight
• 15.7 million cats are obese
• 35 million cats are overweight
• Over half of these pets are older than 7 years of age.

Signs that suggest your pet may be overweight:
• the collar is getting too tight
• you cannot feel your pet's ribs
• your pet has no waist
• your pet has a broad flat back

Obesity can cause many other unwanted problems such as
• Diabetes
• Arthritis
• Liver disease
• Heart problems

Overweight pets can be expensive pets: a diabetic emergency can cost up to $1500 for one visit, and a cruciate ligament repair can cost up to $5000 for surgery.

Tips to Weight Loss
• Feed your pet only at meal times i.e. once or twice daily
• Do not use treats for training unless they are healthy e.g. carrots;
• Reward with hugs and positive attention
• Do not vary the diet too much as this encourages fussiness
• Do not allow for ‘begging’ behaviour
• Allocate feeding to one household member to avoid your pet being fed twice
• Measure or weigh your pet’s food
• Consider veterinary recommended weight loss diets
• Keep the food in a secure, out-of-reach area
• Do not feed table scraps
• Increase your pet’s exercise

Your veterinarian can help you calculate the amount of calories your pets need a day and also advise you on the types of exercise that is right for your pet.

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